DIY Cereal Mix

Our little man is a foodie. He loves his food, there are not many things that he doesn’t like. We are not sure whether it is all in the genes (we’re really into our food), or it was because we started him on “adult food” pretty young. We also gave him the opportunity to choose what he would like to have as often as possible. Most of the times, he chooses good healthy food, though obviously, just like any other 2 year olds, he’d ask for pizzas and “chippies” for breakfast too ๐Ÿ™‚

Img src: Woolworth’s Online

One of his favourite fun times is choosing his cereal at the grocery shop. His favourite of all cereals is the Uncle Toby’s Plus cereal “with blueberries!!!”. We have been getting these for a couple of months now, until I realised that we go through the box within a week or so (with Mr E’s help). At $4 a pop, weekly, it certainly does add up. We’re madly saving up for upcoming house renovations and holidays at the moment, so I am trying my best to get the best bang for our buck, without affecting our lifestyleย too much ๐Ÿ™‚

So here’s what I did recently:

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I made my own “Uncle Toby’s Plus Cereal” as what they really are, are just pre-mixed bits of cereal and dried fruit. Super easy and does not take all that much time for me to do ๐Ÿ™‚ I already had the dried fruit in the pantry, so our current “box” of cereal only cost us AUD1. If I had to buy the fruit, it would be about AUD2 max with lots and lots of fruit leftover. If I want to be even more cost-savvy, I could also buy Homebrand “Corn Flakes” and Homebrand dried fruit. However, I prefer Sunbeam dried fruit as they’re still nice and plump and juicy (and Australian grown too) ๐Ÿ™‚ There are some things I’d rather “splurge” on but the options are there.

Mr E said that it isn’t the same as the Uncle Toby’s cereal, but still yummy nevertheless. We are already half-way through my premix, so I think the boys really do like it ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you guys do to save up that is easy to do? Please share, I want new a bathroom pronto!

Cloth Nappies

Ever since Little E was born, I had been going to/fro-ing between disposable and cloth nappies. I won’t go into the pros/cons as there are many pages and forums discussing them. We had a trial one that we liked from Hippybottomus but as he had eczema which was mostly triggered by washing detergents, we decided not to go ahead with it. Without proper washing detergent, I found that the nappy didn’t get clean properly. Even with the help from the sun.

Now that Miss V seemed to be free of eczema (thank God!), I am seriously looking into cloth nappies again. I tried using it again the other day and I actually liked it. It isn’t any harder to use, and because I do the washing almost everyday, cleaning and drying the nappy was not a problem.

Little E is on his way to daytime toilet trained now, and we use disposable overnight. A dear friend of mine suggested that when his night disposable nappies are dry almost everyday, I can use the cloth nappy on him too! How smart are my friends?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hippybottomus has a trial pack for AUD99 and you can actually email them to request which patterns you would like (most brands don’t allow this from my quick research online). I chosen unisex patterns/colours as I will put them on Little E at nap times as well.

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I received my order within a week, couriered straight to me. I washed them as soon as I got them at around 4pm. Though it was a cloudy day, the nappies dried before I needed them the next day. Hooray!

I asked for cloth nappies recommendation on Facebook, and from my friends who did recommend a particular brand that they’re happy with, Hippybottomus was what they recommended. Another friend said that Hippybottomus nappies are made in China and not Australian made (recommended by hardcore cloth nappies lovers). For me, as I am only starting (whose husband isn’t all for it), I didn’t want to spend the money for Australian made ones (they’re a little more expensive unfortunately). So Hippybottomus nappies were the obvious choice for me ๐Ÿ™‚

I am pretty excited about using them ๐Ÿ™‚

Disclaimer: As mentioned, Hippybottomus kindly sent me one nappy to try and I am affiliated with them ๐Ÿ™‚

HealthIER Chocolate Fudge Brownies

If you can’t tell already, I am an emotional eater. When I feel down and sad, baking is my escape. I try to give away most of my baked goods, just so that we don’t eat them all ourselves. Last night, I tried a new recipe I found online and tweaked it to make it slightly healthier.

Healthier Chocolate Fudge Brownie

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Ingredients:
1 well mashed avocado
3 beaten eggs
1 cup of self raising flour (can use Gluten Free option)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence
300g dark chocolate chips (can use Lactose free option)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar

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Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.

In a pot, heat coconut oil and chocolate chips until well combined, take off heat.

In batches, add flour, sugar, essence and baking powder, continue stirring the whole time.

Stir in avocado until well combined.

When mixture is cooled, stir in eggs.

Pour into baking tray then in the oven for 25 minutes.

Cool for 20 minutes before serving ๐Ÿ™‚

The original recipe uses almond meal, but I didn’t have any. You can’t taste the avocado at all, but it must add moisture in the brownie. I love having a piece of the brownie warm, Mr E said that when cold, it is more of a fudge texture ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy!

Fussy little eaters: Slow Cooked Sweet Soy Pork

I cooked this recently and gave a dear friend some to try. It is a dish that I grew up with, though we would have it with sausages and intestines instead ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mr E would never eat that so I used pork shoulder instead.ย My friend liked it so much that she asked for the recipe. Since I had to write it down for her, I thought I’d post it as well, in case you would like to try it out too ๐Ÿ™‚ My little one liked this dish as the meat is very tender.

Slow cooked Sweet Soy Pork

Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks of shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 600g pork shoulder, trim most fat
  • 4tbs kecap manis (Indo sweet soy sauce, you can get this at any supermarket now)
  • 2tbs soy sauce
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped (optional)
  • Any vegetables you like, I added about 4 potatoes (halved)

Method:

  1. Pan fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add shallots and chilli until tender.
  2. Quickly brown the pork then add all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once all of the sauces are combined, put everything into a slow cooker for 6-8ย hours.
  4. Serve with rice, stir fried vegies and a dollop of sambal (Indo chilli paste)

You can use chicken or even tofu for this dish. When I’m feeling ultra extravagant, I also add in peeled boiled eggs into the slow cooker. The eggs will end up soaking the juices, making them sweet and spicy and eggy. It is definitely one of my comfort food dishes, I normally make this when only food can make me happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Ps. Let me know if you would like me to post the recipe on my Indo chilli paste. That one is definitely not child friendly! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fussy little eaters: Wasabi Chicken and Greens

I miss the food in Japan. How I wish we have good authentic reasonably-priced Japanese food here in Canberra. It was great timing that I saw this recipe in a cookbook that was given to me for my birthday this year by Mr E’s uncle!

I didn’t follow the recipe completely as I didn’t have some things and I didn’t want to use too many pots ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wasabi Chicken and Greens

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Ingredients:
1 chicken breast, chop into strips
1 bowl of chopped vegies (I had broccoli, potatoes, carrots, green beans and snowpeas)
Oil for cooking

For sauce:
1 tbs wasabi paste
2 tbs plain yogurt
1 tsp lime juice
Pepper

Method:

  1. Steam vegies until cooked (you can boil too if you prefer)
  2. In a frying pan, cook the chicken until just cooked
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients then stir
  4. When vegies are cooked, carefully mix well with the chicken until coated with sauce (vegies are a tad fragile when cooked so make sure you don’t mix them too roughly)
  5. Serve with salad or over rice (though if you’re having it with rice, I would triple the sauce)

My loves liked this meal, with the little one having thirds! Mr E liked his wasabi so he said he would double the wasabi if it was just for him (it’ll be too strong for babies). You could also steam the chicken with the vegies if you want to be extra healthy ๐Ÿ™‚

Please let me know if you tried this recipe and if you like it ๐Ÿ™‚

Japan: Kobe, Osaka Prefecture

I am home now, reunited with my precious. I am so happy to be back, however, I am about a week behind my Japan posts so here’s one for our day trip to Kobe.

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The day started late with a quick walk around the town, sussing out which restaurant to go to for lunch. We stumbled across this beautiful shrine during our walk.

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We watched a group of young people dipping their fortune paper into this pond. From what we gathered, the fortune only shows up when the paper is wet. The kids seem to be happy with theirs ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We also did a quick walk through the Western Houses area of Kobe. It is interesting to see the architecture of the place, you’d think that you’re elsewhere. Also another thing to note, there are many wedding shops around the area, I assume it’s because of the possibility of holding your wedding in anyone of these Western houses. Definitely a case of “the grass on the other side is always greener”, as I would love to wear beautiful kimonos on my wedding! ๐Ÿ™‚

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The clock on the photo above is stuck on the time when the 1995 earthquake happened; apparently, one of the highest ever recorded in the world. Like true Japanese style though, just like what we saw in the museum in Hiroshima, recovery time was super quick! Amazing.

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The main reason why we’re in Kobe: having a taste of Kobe beef. The picture above is probably about AUD15 of beef. I actually preferred this over the Hida beef we had in Takayama, however, I do still prefer Australian beef ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ We were told that all the Japanese calves came from the same farm, though they’re raised in the different areas of Japan. Curious, right?

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While the boys went to a sake museum, us girls trekked through a giant hill in the highly humid weather to see this waterfall. My sister inlaw can’t remember what the significance of this waterfall is but it’s one of the top three something waterfalls in Japan hahaha it filled the time ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We ended the trip at the Kobe port, looking through the experimental samples of ferries/boats. It was a pleasant experience ๐Ÿ™‚

I enjoyed Kobe, though I won’t rush going back there again ๐Ÿ˜‰ it is an easy trip from Osaka, so if you’re after a daytrip option, Kobe could be one of them ๐Ÿ™‚